Friday, December 13, 2013

What do you want to know? How can we control our heating and holding temperatures?

In the What do you want to know post, FC Brooks asks: My question has to do with the heating and holding part. It sounds important and useful: How exactly can you control the temperature to keep it stable for 20 minutes?

There are many ways to keep the heated oil and heated water phases warm for the heating and holding period. When using a double boiler on the stove, you can control the heat of the water with the stove controls.

When using an electrical device, like a crock pot or my favourite, my electric fondue pot, you can control it with the electrical device. I find this quite simple to do, and suggest getting the water to boiling, then reduce it when you add your containers so you don't get them spilling over!

Anyone want to make suggestions for using the crock pot here? I know someone wrote about it recently, but I can't find that comment! 

And some people are heating and holding in the oven (scroll down for melian's comment - great idea!)

This is one of the reasons we can't use a microwave to heat and hold our ingredients: We can heat, but we can't hold!

Related posts:
Basic lotion making instructions (with the heating and holding method described)
Creating products: Heating and holding (summary post with loads of links)
Heating and holding our ingredients
The argument for heating and holding our ingredients
Why we heat and hold our phases separately
What if we go over 70˚C while heating and holding?
Heating & holding: Are your products going hard too quickly?
How should we heat our ingredients?
Heating and holding on a stove top...

Related posts about equipment:
What options are there for double boilers?
How do you define a double boiler?
Questions about heating vessels
Creating a double boiler
Weekend Wonderings: Creating a double boiler (another post)


Danuta Kildan said...

With all do respect, the heating and holding is excellent idea, but it must be in separate pots (double boiler of course) I can not have it in the same because to keep temps in water is different that in oil. Oil need more time to warm up to 70 but it keeps on this level with setting on lowest, for ever. Water is tricky, I need to control it every 5 minutes and change the settings on my stove. It tends to overheat and cool down quick. I use two small pots with racks on ceramic stove. Thank you Susan for the summary, that's awesome. Marry Xmas to you;))

F. C. Brooks said...

Thank you so much for addressing my question and all of the related posts links. This really helps

Anonymous said...

It's strange that I have the opposite of Danuta's experience. I always weigh out my water phase first because it takes longer to heat up, but it remains stable and I don't have to monitor it closely as I weigh out the oil phase. I keep my DI water, aloe vera, and glycerin in the fridge, so they do start below room temp. Once I get the oil phase in my double boiler (on the stove), I have to stand there watching it constantly to keep it from getting too hot. I've used both glass and plastic containers, and it's always the same. I usually end up pulling the oil phase out of the double boiler to keep it from getting over 80ºC. Meanwhile, my water phase stays between 72 and 68ºC the whole 20 minutes.

As long as I make sure that both phases are the same temp when I combine them, I haven't had any trouble. I just wish I knew why I'm opposite everyone else!
Katie Z

melian1 said...

seriously, try the oven method. the water and oil don't need special handling or watching, they stay at the right temp without watching, they stay at the exact same temp without adjusting, and they stay that way for as long as you need them to.

i heat the water while i'm putting the oil phase together, and pop it in the oven. then i melt the oil phase ingredients in the microwave and pop that in the oven. done. both phases will be ready and waiting for me having been kept at the correct temp for the proper time.

then i weigh out all the other ingredients without worry. no having to constantly remember and watch the temps of the two phases and keep adjusting and so on.

really, it is so much easier and controlled.

Will (Cleveland, OH) said...

How timely. I was just today complaining about this on a blog. This was my post. Anyone have any advice to share? For personal use, I make lotion in about 4 cup size batches, a little less than 1 cup oil, 3'ish cups water (I measure it in grams, so that's the reason for the vagueness). I do the sterile thing as well as I can and I heat and hold at 170 for twenty minutes. Here's my problem and my question... Even though I nuke my water so that it's above 170 when I start, I have problems keeping it above that temp in a range-top water bath. I use 4 cup pyrex measuring cups for my containers. Anyone else have this problem and have you found a solution? Today I thought I had the answer - I tried using a "crockpot" with an adjustable temperature control, but without the lid on I couldn't keep it above 170. That would've been so much easier had it worked. Thanks, Will

Will (Cleveland, OH) said...

I think I'll be trying the "oven method" next time. Water can't evaporate any quicker... Thanks Melian1 for the idea. Will

melian1 said...

will, find an old glass-type coffee pot that is left from a broken mr coffee or something. i found 2 at thrift shops in the course of one afternoon. (i think they cost about 50 cents or so apiece). i tested mine in a 200F oven to be sure, but it handled it without any trouble at all. it has a lid that flops down, and so i have almost no water evaporation.

but being somewhat obsessive, i always use more than i need, and weigh it out AFTER the heat and hold time so i have the exact correct amount. the extra is worth the few pennies i waste so i always have enough.

Mychelle said...

Another oven method devotee here. I set my oil phase to melt while I weigh my water phase. I bring my water to temp in the microwave abd put both in the oven when they are in the correct temp range. My oven runs a little cool so I set it at 225F to hold temps at 170F. Easy-peasy and it frees up space as well. I can do two batches at a time and make back-to-back batches this way as well.

Will Cleveland said...

I might dread my next experiment a little less with the oven way. Thank you.